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Have u been in thailand as an exchange student?
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  1. #1
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    Have u been in thailand as an exchange student?

    Hi everyone!

    Have anyone of u been in Thailand as an exchange student???
    If someone has, please tell me more!
    Summer or year? When and where? What kind of experience that was? and so on..
    I have planned going to thailand to exchange student next summer (summer exchange, it´s about 6 weeks).
    I have been in thailand two times, so the country is not strange to me.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Yes! I did the AFS Summer program to Trang in '89. It was a life changing experience. I whole heartedly encourage you to go!

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    I was on AFS CSP (Community Service Program) for 6 months in Udonthani. As for the rest.... same as Pailin's answer!

    Which organization are you with? (And why do you only stay for 6weeks? Stay longer if you can!)

    I think by reading some of the older posts you'll get a good idea about many experiences of people who spent some time in Thailand as volunteers or students. It's quite difficult to answer your question about what kind of experience it was... it would fill pages... and everybody would write something totally different. But if you have more detailed questions I'm happy to help
    life is wonderful!

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    Yay AFS!

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    Thanks Pailin & maipenrai99!
    Now I read the older messages about exhange students and their experiences. I was so *smart* that I first asked and then checked the older messages... Sorry!
    I am going with YFU (youth for understanding), and at the moment I want to stay just a summer (because of school and so on). Maybe after high school I will go to study abroad for a longer time..
    Did you speak any thai before going thailand to exchange student? I can speak thai just a few words, so do u think it would be a problem?

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    I wouldn't be surprised at all if you go for your short program and end up in a lifelong relationship with Thailand....we all do!

    As for Thai language. I only knew ʴդ when I arrived. I had purchased tapes, but I didn't really review them. AFS had an orientation program in Bangkok before we went on to our families (I'm sure YFU has a similar program) and there I was given some dictionaries and workbooks. We spoke with some of the high school students near where we were staying and learned a few other phrases. Nothing really stuck, though. I arrived at my new family with only one person who had any English language skills -- and those were quite rusty. There was a lot of pointing and dramatic hand gestures....but slowly I learned to speak and communicate. I studied M.5 and they only had me going to four of the 'real' classes because they figured the language barrier would be too vast. I went to English, Math, Sports, and Cooking class. For the rest of the day, they set up classes for me to learn more about Thailand: Buddhism, Thai flower arranging, Thai Dance, Thai Music, Thai language. These classes were either one on one with the teacher or they were with a small group of helpful students.

    It was just fun to see how a school functions and to experience the differences from my own high school. It really helped to understand Thailand and the priorities of the people.

    Sorry for the ramble....

  7. #7
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    It's a nice ramble. I think that you were very fortunate to be in a situation where you couldn't use English. Otherwise it's so easy to fall back on your own language. Though my Thailand trip was of a different nature and much shorter, for me it was good that most of my hosts spoke very little English. It's much easier to speak poor Thai to someone who doesn't speak English. Even poor Thai is a win-win in that case

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    The less people speak English around you, the better you will learn Thai! This can make you a bit lonely in the beginning, but you'll learn Thai faster than in any course!
    And of course you'll get rewarded: even one single Thai word will bring huge smiles to the Thai's faces !
    Plus everybody will want to teach you, so don't worry. I didn't speak nearly any Thai at all when I left, except from "drawing" a few Thai consonants and being able to say "sawatdee", like Pailin said. Don't worry!
    It's a great chance to just observe how fast one can learn a language when it is used every minute of the day.
    life is wonderful!

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    Before I left for Thailand, I met up with our local group of AFS returness and they said that very same thing. It's going to be frustrating, but every little bit you learn will be such an accomplishment. They also suggested that when I got lonely that I talk to the Children or the animals. The children and the animals don't care at all if you screw it up (not that the adults do either, but they'll be more confused) My best friend in Thailand was 12 years old and I was 17. That doesn't seem like a big difference now but for me at 17, it was easier for me to hang out with and speak to this 12 year old than my own classmates. She taught me so much and we had so much fun!

  10. #10
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    Pailin, you're so right. One of my very close friends was 15, I was 21.

    Also, what I didn't know then, but would do now: Just talk to the people in your own language when you get lonely! I learned something very remarkable during my stay there: saying "Thank you" or something similar does not depend on the language. If it comes right from your heart, they'll understand it. When I was in Issaan, the ladies there would never stop talking to me, some of them didn't even bother to speak Thai, they spoke Issan. They didn't expect me to understand, they just talked and looked in my face and smiled and kept talking. Now I realise I should have said something, regardless of the language, they would have "understood". Simply by smiling at each other and doing gestures of eating and other things, we had a small "conversation" and they invited me for lunch. We had a great time! If I compare this situation to one in Switzerland.... here people would stop talking to someone foreign once they realise the person doesn't understand the language. It would be a very quiet lunch. People would smile, but not talk. And that's where I realise that talking makes a big difference, even if you don't understand a word!

    I find it so interesting to try to communicate with people whose language you don't understand. It's a great chance for you, so enjoy it, even if you get lonely sometimes!

    ...and just imagine the joy and astonishment of the Issaan women when I pointed to some red ants and said "mot daeng" with a big smile From then on everybody wanted to teach me Thai!
    life is wonderful!

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